The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) recently participated in a UNESCO Regional Workshop held from November 1st to 3rd at the Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi. This workshop brought together Culture and UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) focal points from various Pacific nations to deliberate on the World Heritage Convention, exploring its procedures, challenges, and opportunities for the Pacific.
The event drew attendees from Pacific nations with WHSs as well as those with sites on the Tentative List of WHS. These include the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The representatives from Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Marshall Islands shared invaluable insights about their WHS journey, the challenges encountered and the best practices they’ve implemented.
The workshop further addressed the challenges and opportunities for all WHSs across the Pacific region, emphasizing the importance of legislation, regulatory measures, and strengthening multi-stakeholder collaboration in the development and management of WHS.
SPTOs Manager Sustainable Tourism Christina Gale presented the Summary Findings and Recommendations from the Sustainable Tourism Assessment of Pacific WHSs. The presentation received recognition from UNESCO, participating countries, and partners, highlighting the significance of sustainable tourism in preserving the Pacific’s unique heritage and supporting community livelihoods.
Ms Gale and the SPTO team also met with the UNESCO Small Island Developing States (SIDS) representatives to explore potential partnerships for enhancing tourism and WHS development in the Pacific in 2024.
“Tourism is not for all WHS, done well, it provides alternative livelihood opportunities for communities, advances collective efforts in environmental conservation, and preserves culture. SPTO’s involvement in the UNESCO Regional Workshop marks a crucial step towards advancing World Heritage Site initiatives in the Pacific, promoting sustainable tourism, and safeguarding the region’s rich cultural and environmental heritage. Together with UNESCO and partner countries, the Pacific is poised to make a lasting impact on the global stage, setting a precedent for community-centered approaches and tangible support for WHS development and management,” Ms Gale said.
Photo Credit: UNESCO Office of the Pacific States